Posted on Mar 14, 2015
SGT Team Leader
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I think that this is an issue most of us have encountered. We've been in mindset where we have decided "no more". No more re-enlistments. For many of us, we continue on, and re-up. A lot of service-members count down the days until they are "free".

Are you one of them? Why?

As a leader, do you encourage continued service or empathize with the end of it?
As a future leader, or veteran, what are your thoughts?
Posted in these groups: Re enlistment logo Re-enlistment
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Responses: 44
CPT Aaron Kletzing
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I would recommend not making the decision to get out based on emotions. Use objective judgment...don't get out because you are really upset over a single situation, at least in most cases.
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SSgt Forensic Meteorological Consultant
SSgt (Join to see)
>1 y
Indeed and agreed!
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SGT Team Leader
SGT (Join to see)
>1 y
CPT Aaron Kletzing, spot on, Sir. All too often, young SMs get the picture that their current situations are static. And many times, leadership isn't there to explain otherwise.
We let so many of our folks exist within in a bubble.
And unfortunately, many can't see it...until it's too late. The bubble bursts, and now we have vets with "what-ifs".
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GySgt Wayne A. Ekblad
GySgt Wayne A. Ekblad
>1 y
Sound advice!!!
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CSM Michael J. Uhlig
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I don't know why you wouldn't want to be a Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Marine/Coast Guardsman, we have some great hours and even allow you to get a couple extra hours on the weekends and holidays and don't hold it against you. We have some terrific equipment, just in case its raining when you get to work. Our starting pay is very competitive and you get to stay in some very fancy resort like living arrangements in our college style dorms and we even give you a roommate just so you wont get lonely. We give you the most up to date vaccinations prior to sending you to the most exotic vacation hot spots across the globe. You have the opportunity to become immersed in some of the oldest cultures on the planet while drinking tea out of some of the most hygienically clean cups. So, I don't really understand why anyone would ever want to leave, with the afore mentioned benefits, it really amazes me.

When we have a Soldier that makes a decision to leave or is leaning on getting out, I try to talk with them to understand their plan, I really want them to be successful whether in or out of the service. I really believe our former service members are our best recruiters. By treating our people right while they are in, and ensuring they have an opportunity to transition successfully, we give them an opportunity to be productive members of society.
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CSM Michael J. Uhlig
CSM Michael J. Uhlig
>1 y
You are spot on SPC(P) Jay Heenan, I am trying to forget it!
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SGT Team Leader
SGT (Join to see)
>1 y
SPC(P) Jay Heenan and CSM Michael J. Uhlig I don't wanna know. I thought rat-on-a-stick was pretty appetizing, but I also eat McDonald's.
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LTC Stephen C.
LTC Stephen C.
>1 y
SGT (Join to see), you are funny! However, as much as I try to avoid McDonald's, I'll still have to give that a hands down number #1 over rat-on-a-stick! I know, it probably tastes like chicken!
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SGT Infantryman
SGT (Join to see)
>1 y
CSM, having just left the resort life of USAG Bavaria, I would agree that the accommodations at Grafenwoehr are high class when considered from the stand point of Rose Barracks. They also are courteous enough to make certain that the ranges with hard shell sleeping establishments lacked matresses so those blessed few of us that were infantry wouldn't become too comfortable and get soft.
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MAJ Senior Observer   Controller/Trainer
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Kudos, SGT (Join to see) for asking we, as leaders, this simple yet substantive question. When I was in my first enlistment, prior to my re-enlistment window closing, I was informed that upon the close of formation, I had to report to see the Battery Commander. Now, I got along well with our BC, loved working for the man; if he were to have ordered me to run through a brick wall, I'd I've knocked myself out cold trying. However, I had never before been summoned to report before him. After spending the duration of formation running all plausible scenarios through my mind as to what it might be, formation was over and we fell out. Apprehensively, I knocked at his door and requested to enter. Standing perfectly at attention, I rendered a crisp, precise salute, "Sir, SPC Hoiland reports." Returning my salute, he looked me in the eye, smiled, put me at ease and offered me as seat. "Hoiland," he said, "Where do you want to go next?"

Our conversation lasted for nearly two hours that day. I had made my decision to leave Active Duty and continue serving with the Army Reserve. However, I was doing so in order to complete college and pursue my Commission through ROTC. So long as I had a plan, he was supportive. For most Soldiers leaving the Army, this is where the interview ended. Because he was the one who had planted the seed of going ROTC after my enlistment however, he took on a sense of ownership: "What school are you going to?" "UW - La Crosse"; "Have you been accepted yet?" "It's still pending, Sir."; "Have you spoken with the PMS?" "Briefly, Sir." "What did the PMS say?" "He said to call him back once I had been accepted". "Do you have the telephone number for UW - La Crosse?" "Yes, Sir." "Go get it for me!" My Battery Commander called the Admissions Office, telephonically confirmed that I had been accepted, requested that a copy of my acceptance letter be faxed to the BN HQ, requested to be transferred to the Department of Military Science, confirmed my acceptance into that program, and delivered to the PMS a very nice verbal endorsement of my character, drive, and potential.

I had never really given retention or individualized Soldier care much thought before this day, but it was encoded into my Officer's DNA in that meeting. And I wasn't a special case. It turns out, that this meeting was scheduled shortly before the re-enlistment window for a Soldier closed, but with enough time to make it happen if a Soldier so desired. When my Battery Commander asked, "Where do you want to go next?", it turns out he wasn't just blowing smoke up your ass. Didn't like what you're doing and want to reclass? Reclass to what? He would reach out to other Units on Post and let you go over and spend some time with them, talk to the guys doing the job you would be doing if you were to reclass; still interested? If yes, he retained a Soldier. If not, he did his level-best.

After Commissioning, I never returned to Active Duty. There existed (and still does today) a demand for qualified Junior Officers who can bring a bit of my former Battery Commander's passion and zeal for doing right by Soldiers and sowing those seeds far and wide across the Reserve Components. When it comes to retention, maybe it is time for a move for that Soldier. As a leader in a game where far too many players get lulled into looking at nothing more than the numbers, can you step up and do what's right for that Soldier and his family?
If you can't, it's time to reset. If you can, you already know that your reputation for working with your Troops will fill that vacancy soon anyway, so, why worry?

In a fiscally-constrained environment, when your Soldiers roll out of your AO, it's most likely a one-way trip; they won't be able to un-ring that bell. We owe it to each of them to help them make certain their call is the right one!
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MAJ Senior Observer   Controller/Trainer
MAJ (Join to see)
>1 y
TSgt (Join to see) , you raise a fair point; retention really is a Command-wide area of emphasis; this is especially true in the Reserve Components at the Company-level where it is conceivable for a Soldier to grow from PV2 to 1SG before needing to find a new Unit to call home.
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LTC Stephen C.
LTC Stephen C.
>1 y
Nice story about your old CO, MAJ (Join to see), and a good result for you!
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PO2 Vince Chmiel
PO2 Vince Chmiel
>1 y
I can tell you that I wish I had officers with that mindset while I was serving. While I was serving, I had a pretty constant slew of officers, and senior NCOs that seemed (to the department/division) to have hate and or rage issues that they would direct at their sailors, and fellow officers at times.
This 12 year string of negative leadership is what keeps me from looking back.
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MAJ Senior Observer   Controller/Trainer
MAJ (Join to see)
>1 y
PO2 Vince Chmiel, I am sorry that you didn't. In my experience, I felt honor-bound to follow-through with my commitment; I felt as though I had a team of leaders who had recognized potential in me and were supporting the development of that potential. I didn't want failure on my part to make them regret the extra mile they went in squaring me away; perhaps they would be less-inclined to do it for the next Soldier following his goals and objectives.
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